What I Wish I Knew in Sixth Form

I had my final A Level exam just over a year ago. It’s strange; I feel like the year’s gone quick, but it also feels like so long ago! While it was only two years of my life, I learnt a lot (and not just syllabus content). I feel my reflection on my experiences might be beneficial, so in this blog I’m going to discuss what I wish I knew in Sixth Form (besides the final exams answers!)

Recognising Burnout

I always assumed burnout feel like fatigue. This wasn’t the case. I went into my Year 13 practicing for two admissions test (UKCAT and BMAT), preparing for interviews, and studying three subjects. I did all my work and I had time to enjoy myself, so I didn’t understand how I could burnout. My mock results shown that I had, however. Meeting deadlines doesn’t mean that you’re learning effectively! I should’ve left time to process information, not just to ‘de-stress’.

It’s Okay to Not be the ‘Best’

Getting into University is competitive, but it’s okay to not be the best. There will always be someone who gets higher grades than you (and someone who will get higher grades than them) and that’s okay! Just be kind to yourself, because doing your best is what’s important. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. All my teachers expected my best, not my predicted grades.

Results Day is Not the End

I was expecting to not get my predicted grades on Results Day for numerous reasons. I didn’t, but was actually okay with it on the day. You’ll realise there’s a lot of opportunities: re-marks, Clearing, and sitting exams again. Some opportunities may mean you start your next career path later, but that’s okay! We have a lifetime to ‘sort out’ our lives, it’s okay to have a hurdle in the way. It is discouraging, but it’s important to persevere.

Closing Words

Sixth form was a formative experience for me and many others. The ‘take home’ message from this is to look after yourself. It’s already a stressful time, and taking small steps like this would have certainly helped me. Hopefully being aware of lessons I learnt the hard way will help you!


A Business Student’s Guide To The Catalyst.

The Catalyst will be the second or third most important building on campus for yourself most likely. The toss-up between the two comes down to how much you love your bed or not, or perhaps how much time you spend at the Student Union bar. Those two locations are blogs for another time. Today, this blog will be about the Catalyst building and how I used it as a student of the Business School. Each course will use the building differently, for example, I didn’t have to use the computer systems as I have a laptop, and did not need bespoke software.

The Catalyst.

Aside from the coffee shop, I used the group workspace areas downstairs in the Catalyst the most out of the whole building within my first year. Some modules in my course were comprised of a lot of group tasks, assignments, activities that had to be done in a group to succeed. Using our accommodation, which would’ve been more homely, was not an option most of the time, so often my groups and I found ourselves in a pod or at a table in the Catalyst. It can be a loud environment so if you’re getting on with some work down there, I recommend earphones. I think every new student reading my blog should consider using the Catalyst to write one assignment in its entirety once over your time at Edge Hill, it’s usually open all hours as long as you have your student card.

Moving on from workspaces, the Catalyst will be where you need to get books from if you are not purchasing them yourself. Whenever you go to take a book out ensure you have your student card handy, or else you won’t be able to take it back to your accommodation or home that day. Blackboard will allow you to check the code and floor of the book you’re looking for which makes locating texts infinitely easier. For example, a lot of my books, for my course, live on the second floor.

An example of Blackboard’s book location capabilities, taken from one of my module reading lists.

Many different students are going to have many different uses for the Catalyst, but the two I have discussed are the two most prominent for myself as a Business School student, but also myself in terms of what resources are on offer. An important thing to add about the Catalyst is that you can loan out laptops, allowing you to work anywhere. I hope if you are a new student, attending this coming October, this blog has excited you about the Catalyst building and what it may offer yourself as a student at Edge Hill University.


Essential Primary Education Books!

Hey everyone! I thought that I would share some of the educational books I use for the majority of my assignments and classes for Primary Education at Edge Hill University!

How Children Learn – Sean Macblain

I use this book for almost all of my subjects and assignments as it contains a lot information about educational theories that you can apply to all your assignments. The information in the book is brief but is a great starting point for information and just to learn the theories is come depth.

Primary Science: Knowledge and Understanding – Peacock et al

I really like the layout of this book as it very easy to read and the information is straight to the point. I used this book a lot in first year as we had to read and answer some questions from a chapter each week.

Teaching the Primary Foundation Subjects – Maggie Webster and Sarah Misra

I use this book for my foundation subject assignments especially when looking for the benefits of teaching the foundation subjects in primary education. The layout of the books is very easy to read and has some really nice ideas to teach music, history and geography etc.

Primary English for Trainee Teachers – David Waugh

This book is more suited to English but can be read for other subjects like APD. I like this book because it has a lot of definitions that are useful to learn for teaching primary English and information on verbs etc to jog your memory.

Mathematics Explained for Primary Teacher – Haylock and Manning

Again, as this is a mathematics books I use this for my maths assignments and classes. For someone who very much struggled with mathematics I found this book very useful for explaining the misconceptions in maths and how to overcome them!

I hope that you found this useful! You can find these books on Amazon which was where mine were bought but you also do not have to buy these books as they will be available in the library and online! I found it useful having my own copies so that I could highlight etc so if you are also like this maybe look into second hand books which you can also find on Amazon.

Thanks for reading, Lauren x

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”

Annie Dillard

Course Prep Part 3: Necessities

Coming to University can be stressful enough with choosing the course, accommodation etc. But a part of that stress can come from not knowing exactly what to bring, not just for the accommodation, but also for your course.


Best Laptops For Students in 2019 | College & High-School - 10BestOnes

is pretty much a necessity for all courses. Having a laptop is crucial to taking notes whilst in lectures and seminars. It will save you a lot of time rather than writing your notes and typing them up after class – trust me with this one. However, don’t worry if you don’t have one or can’t get one due to circumstances. At Edge Hill, the catalyst provides a laptop borrowing system (situated on the ground floor). This allows you to take out a laptop, and you can use it for your lectures and seminars.

Click here to find the best student laptops: https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/mobile-computing/laptops/10-best-laptops-for-students-983385

Notepad and Pens

Although for me personally a laptop is better at taking notes, I do like to also have a notepad and pen. This is kind of my back up in case I forgot to charge up my laptop before a lecture, or I only need to take ‘simple’ notes.

Coloured Pens/Highlighters

Stabilo Highlighters Pastel Pk6 | eBay

Having these save so much energy when it comes to revision. For me, I find it extremely helpful colour coding specific topics and highlighting in different colours. I tend to use the highlighters when doing readings and I need to pick out quotes for an upcoming assignment. I use the coloured pens for mind-maps, revision cards and other forms of study methods. I completely get that this method may or may not work for you, but I highly recommend investing in a few highlighters at least. (Stabilo pastel highlighters are my favourite).

Display Book/Ring Binder

These items are to help organise all of my resources that I’ve printed out. I like to print out my readings, highlight them and place them into some kind of folder. This helps me to stay organised and I know where my readings are for each module if I need them for references or any other research.

These are just my few necessities for starting University. Don’t feel like you need to get everything, but these items will definitely help you along your journey.

Ellis x

Signature for my posts. I end every post with a love heart

Moving from Campus Accommodation to Off-Campus Accommodation

Hey everyone, since people are thinking about accommodation for the next academic year I thought I would share with you some of my experiences going from living on campus to living off-campus during my second year!

What is so different?

With the on-campus accommodation, the halls of residence usually have a cleaner that comes in daily to clean the communal areas of the accommodation (not the bedroom etc) which was really nice and helpful especially when cleaning and mopping the floor was sometimes the most forgotten task.

Living off-campus this obviously does not happen as the houses for rent are not owned by the university. This means that (in my case anyway) a rota is usually created so that people living in that house each have the responsibility to keep the kitchen and the sitting areas clean.

Living on campus also means that you are MUCH closer to your lectures and can easily get to them if you are running a little late whereas, living off-campus depending where you are, the walk can seemingly take far too long. I lived about 20 minute walking distance from the university and sometimes the thought of having to walk in the rain to a lecture can be quite daunting but luckily the faculty of education keeps me warm!

However, living off-campus meant that I did not have to walk so far to get my weekly shopping. In first year, when I lived on campus I usually liked to walk to the shops and then get the free edge link bus that comes every 20 mins back up to my flat.

How to settle in

I found that it took a lot less time for me to settle in to living off-campus than it did when I first moved into the flat in first year. This was maybe due to the fact that I already knew the people I was living with but I think it was also because we made it comfortable and set up a rota to help us stay on track of cleaning and shopping etc.

I also found that spending loads of time in the house before university and lectures actually started helped me to get used to the new surroundings and set my things up.

I hope that you found this useful and are staying safe and well during this time. 

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort” 

-Jane Austen-

Course Prep Part 2: TV and Film Production

When I made Edge Hill my top choice for University, I was constantly on the look out for how to prepare for my course. Here’s a few things I did before coming to Edge Hill to help settle my nerves, and make me more organised.

Course Information

Extra, extra! How to become an extra on TV - Saga

This is probably a bit of an obvious tip but, It’s a good idea to look into the course information that’s on the Edge Hill website. This will help give you an overview of what modules to expect, and also what ones you’re interested in at the moment. Reading this information will help calm your nerves as you wont be diving into the ‘unknown’, and it allows you a bit of time to research into that topic too. If you want to of course.

Blog Posts

Most Universities will have a blogging site, like Inside Edge. This is a great way to get an insight from a current students perspective about their life at University, their course, the location etc. The blog posts also allow you to comment on them and ask any questions you may have. For example, if you would like more information about TV and Film Production, you can leave a comment down below and I would be happy to answer any questions you have.


Plato's reading suggestions, episode 68 | Footnotes to Plato

When you start University, you’ll begin to realise that a lot of your lectures and seminars will want you to do readings. If you would like to get ahead before first year, you may be able to contact some course leaders to see what readings you’ll be looking into. This will help so much in the long run, and is a great way to get organised and prepared before University.

I hope this has given you guys a bit of inspiration to get prepared before coming to University. Hope you’re all staying well and safe.

Ellis x

Signature for my posts. I end every post with a love heart

Managing Money – Food Shopping.

Managing Money is an essential part of university life. Whether you’re living off savings, making income through a part-time job, or you’re one of the lucky ones with a rather hefty student loan, you will have to manage this money accordingly to ‘survive’. My blog this week is going to focus in on food shopping at Edge Hill, something you can keep quite cheap if you’re intelligent.

My first few weeks at uni I did a weekly food shop, which wasn’t very smart. I was spending £10-£20 a week on food which majorly ate into my savings. If you set a budget for food before you go, and only go once every, maybe two weeks, like I did in the second semester, you save yourself a lot of money. Another thing I did wrong, I was buying a lot of snacks during my food shops, rather than actual food like bags of Pasta, Rice, stuff to go with those. I strongly recommend not buying snacks during your weekly food shop, and instead of saving that money for McColls’ £1 item aisle which longterm will be more financially manageable. Around Christmas, I was silly with my money and bought lots of chocolate, my diet and bank account were both very unhappy with me for those purchases.

Your essential map to supermarkets in Ormskirk.

I’ve spoke about tips regarding your actual shopping list, but where can you buy food in Ormskirk? You’ve got three main options! The largest supermarket is the Morrisons, I often used it to buy treat items like syrups for my coffee, or nice cheeses. Aldi is another option that most people tend to use, I know I certainly did. I used Aldi for stuff like breakfast items, pasta, rice, general things you need in your food cupboard to put together a satisfying meal that doesn’t break the bank. If you want to treat yourself, beyond what Morrisons can offer, there’s an M&S in Ormskirk. I often bought cookies from M&S during heavy coursework periods to get me through.

My snack draw for coursework survival.

Of course, I will always prefer the method of getting my parents to do my food shop for me when they come to visit, or I go home for a weekend.


What Am I Looking Forward Next Year?

I submitted my final assignment two days ago, so my Foundation Year is officially over! However, I can’t stop thinking about the next academic year. I figured this blog would be a great outlet for the thoughts I have right now. This blog should give insight on anyone going into first year Medicine, or how you may feel going into summer after your first year of studying!

Seeing Old Friends and Making New Ones

It will be at least six months since I have seen my friends when I see them next. To say I’m looking forward to see them again is an understatement. However, with fifteen students joining our class (and more students at societies, events, etc.) there’s more friends to make, too!


This is subject to lockdown, of course. A few weeks into my course, my Wednesday mornings are expected to be occupied with placements. Placements are a great way to contextualise learning and get a taste for what lies ahead for us when we graduate. I can’t wait to start them!

More Work

The Foundation Year is a full-time course, but there is a greater volume of work in the First Year of Medicine. I’m looking forward to having more to learn, especially since I feel more prepared thanks to the Foundation Year!

University Life

I love living at home and seeing my family (and dogs!), but I do miss University; I miss being able to go for a quiz on a Monday evening, or seeing my friends whenever I wanted. I’m certainly going to appreciate it more come next year.

The Facilities

At home, 98% of the coffee I drink is black. I love it, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t want a caramel latte from the Hub’s Starbucks in my hand while catching up with old friends. I also miss sandwiches from Subway, too. With that said, I’m sure my bank account is appreciating the break…

Closing Words

I’m aware next year is going to bring a lot of challenges. However, I’m looking forward to them, and all of the great aspects it’ll come with! Sadly there is no telling when we’ll be back at University, but I’m looking forward to it starting again; whenever that may be.


What To Do During the Summer – Trainee Teacher Style!

Hey everyone, I hope you all are well and staying safe! As we approach a long break from university and start to forget everything we have known for the past 6 months, I thought I would share a few ideas on what you could do over the summer as a trainee teacher!

Teaching Standards Folders!

This is something that I have been trying really hard to keep up with the past couple of weeks so that I don’t drown in it later on in life. I like to sit and collect all my evidence I have picked up over my past two placements and work out where they fit into each standard.

At the beginning of the process, I thought that creating the teaching standards folder was going to be a little boring but once I saw all my evidence in front of me I really enjoyed looking through and remembering my placements which made it a lot easier to do.


As you will have quite a lot of free time, there is no better time than to squeeze in a little time to keep up with academic reading that relates to education and the subjects you will be teaching. You can find many articles on Google scholar and Discover More that would be great to keep you up-to-date with current educational affairs etc.

Reflect on Placements!

You will be doing a lot of reflection on placements whilst working on your Teaching Standards folder but it can be equally as beneficial to reflect on other areas of your placements such as; how your mentor taught the class compared to how you taught the class, things you would like to work on in the next placement or things that your course mates have shared about their placements!

I hope that some people found this useful! Time off from university and deadlines is really important for mental health reasons and sometimes physical reasons as it can be tiring but I think it is equally as important to keep your mind active and learning from time to time!

Thank you for reading, Lauren x



Moving out of Campus Accommodation.

I’m writing this on Sunday 7th June 2020, and yesterday I moved out of my university accommodation, it was a lot easier than I expected.

So, background before I retell this story. I am a first-year student and I spent my first year in Chancellors Court accommodation, on campus. I took home my essentials (Which equated for about a half of my stuff) when my lectures were switched to online in light of the current pandemic in March. A week or so ago the university invited me to book a slot to collect the rest of my items, and my timeslot was this Saturday at 9 AM, exhausted was an understatement by the time I was done.

The view from my room on campus

I realise I jumped ahead of myself there, so in an effort to ensure whole experience it recapped for yourself, let’s go from the top. My quarantine sleep schedule is 2/3 AM to 11 AM, sometimes 12 PM.. I had to wake up at 7 AM for my car journey back up to uni. That car journey truly makes me wish I lived close to Edge Hill, every time I take it. My parents and I arrived at the university just before 9, but seemingly since no one else from my building was moving out, we could start early. It was only two people at a time in the building, so we created the system where one of my parents waited outside and took bags, boxes, anything we could put stuff into, to the car, and my other parent and myself packed my belongings. Like I said before, having packed up half my room in March, it was a lot easier of a process.

A candid shot of my desk just before I moved out in March.

In all it took about an hour to pack my remaining clothes, my kitchen stuff, all the things you wouldn’t really think you’d need back home. When all was packed into our car, I had to do the sombre walk of handing my keys in. It felt odd to be wandering through a very quiet campus, I wasn’t going to be staying in the room again and this would be the last time I saw Edge Hill until October, however it was good for me, I’ve gotten one of the last pieces of closure I needed for my first year.

Much like most things at the moment, I can’t say you’ll experience the same as myself, given the circumstances my move out took place in. If you’re a current student still waiting to do this task, maybe this will help. If you’re a prospective student reading this, I hope my recollection of how the university is handling things serves as interesting reading.